they drove to the coast for the day. she had some props to stage and photograph for a piece she was writing. she invited him along for company, for help and because she loved him.
it wasn’t a good weather day at the beach. the temperature was cold and the sky was overcast. the wind blew hard. after parking the car, they got out their cameras to explore the treasures of the beach.
it wasn’t long before he began walking the other direction, intently focused on unusual birds and adjusting camera settings. maybe today he would get perfect shots that would fix all the broken things.
she watched him go, giving him time do what he loved. it was low tide, offering them a rare opportunity to see eddies and tide pools normally hidden in high tide. the wind and the waves formed intricate designs and patterns in the sand. she took a few photos as she admired the handiwork and creativity of the one who’d made it all.
after a while she needed his help. she began calling his name as she walked toward him. to her surprise, he turned and walked the other direction, oblivious to her calls, to her existence on the beach with him. she started shouting his name hoping he would hear her voice above the wind, willing him to hear her deep calling to his.
suddenly, stark reality pierced her heart. tears and wind stung her eyes. she stopped shouting and stopped walking. she stood still in the wind watching him walk further away from her.
she realized he wouldn’t have needed to hear her if he saw her and honored her in his heart. he would have sensed her need and heard her calling him in his spirit.
but he couldn’t honor her because he didn’t honor father. and there were things blocking his vertical relationship with his abba. they were cameras, lenses, flash drives, birds, animals, all good things, yes, but they’d become idols.
the very gifts he’d been given were now stumbling blocks as he looked to them for identity and fulfillment. every day, he put them first, blocking the goodness, love and healing father wanted to pour into him.
those good things caused blindness, a tunnel vision in every part of his life. he was unable to see anyone else because he was focused on himself. similar to a funhouse mirror, the tunnel vision was destroying the very relationships he said mattered most to him.
vertical relationships with father, jesus and holy spirit must be correctly aligned for horizontal relationships with people to work.
it was 5 am saturday morning. she was wide awake. sleeping in wasn’t happening today. another roller coaster week in her never a dull moment life was over. it was time to rest and reflect, laugh again.
it was a melting pot of warfare, sleepless nights, tears, passionate conversations with bad endings. demons swearing at her. nice. what was that about being blessed when you’re persecuted and people talk ugly to you? she shook her head and laughed. the devil only has a hissy fit when you’re doing something right. well then.
trust the process
“trust the process,” her friend told her. when she heard it, she knew it came right from papa god’s heart. trust the process. indeed. she’d asked papa for his best for her.
she’d seen him through his papa’s eyes for some time now. she saw him in truth, in perfection, as a beloved son even when he wasn’t fully awake to this reality.
he’d had brilliant prophetic words spoken over him, words of promise, hope and a future. he saw vignettes of unlimited possibilities and potential, the ways papa god wanted to bless him as his son. he saw how his gifts and talents could be brought to life.
most importantly, he was presented with the beautiful gift of the helpmeet he could walk with in this life. would he step into his destiny? would he come back for her?
this was a major life decision. in returning to her, he’d be turning his face fully back to papa god. it meant walking arm in arm with him in unity. it meant stepping into sonship.
it meant radical change in direction, a homecoming worth celebrating loudly. the cloud of witnesses perched on the edge of their seats wondering how this would play out. would he choose well? would he be bold and courageous? yes, the stakes were high but the reward was great.
she’d prayed intently over him and his family for cleansing and restoration in their blood lines. for all the enemy stole to be returned to them 7-fold.
weeks turned to months, months grew to years. she wept over him, took communion over him, visioning life with him. she determined to cooperate fully with papa god, willing him to have every opportunity to make the best choice for his future and future generations.
she prayed for wisdom and revelation that the eyes of his understanding would be open. she prayed for his heart to be one with father god’s heart again. she called to his spirit to rise up and lead his soul, declaring his spirit would only be led by holy spirit.
faithful friends stood with her and prayed. in all of it she kept telling papa god she wanted his best.
she gave him wide margins to work things out on his own. she spoke when holy spirit prompted her – and sometimes when silence was the better option. grace covered her.
unconditional love often gets an unexpected response
wisdom dictated several things she would not compromise. those things had earned her unfriending, blocking and ‘goodbye.’ unconditional love often gets an unexpected response.
jesus chimed in on her thoughts, showing her some of his daily experience. he’s telling us, “i love you, i’m here for you, not leaving you. ever.” his compassion rises, watching us trying to stitch up our gaping wounds. we lay there bleeding, still holding up the hand, saying, “i’m good here. get the hell away from me.”
see how we are
see how we are. still, he doesn’t leave. he waits until we give in, showing him our wounds, allowing him to love and heal us. she remembered her conversation with jesus, drowning in her own lake of mess. “i am so freaking broken. what do you want with me??”
she could see it wasn’t him rejecting her. it was a combination of pain, fear and angst speaking, a realization that the old ways of dodging brokenness weren’t working.
she didn’t leave, either. she loved him hard, praying for him when she would have rather kicked his backside. love never fails, never gives up. it gets up in the morning to love another day, to love the hell away.
now, she waited, trusting the process, waiting on the promise.
it was a birthday gift from a *sister, the one who filled the role of *jonathan in their david and jonathan relationship.
it was breathtaking, in full bloom the day she received it, adorned with five beautiful white blossoms. she’d never had an orchid before. it intimidated her. she knew they could be tricky to care for.
not only that, but this was a gift from a friend. what if it died? this was different than failing with a plant you bought for yourself. there was pressure to keep the plant alive and nurture the relationship that was clearly from papa god. oh boy.
over time, the delicate white petals dried up and gently fell to the cabinet below. the stems that held the petals also dried up and fell off. only a long green stalk remained where so much glory and beauty had shown weeks earlier. even the stalk began to dry up. she clipped it back, hopeful it would prevent further decay. it did not.
desperate, she cut it back again. ugh. this was a failure. no, she was failing at caring for the white orchid. so she thought.
there was danger in overwatering these plants. she followed the watering instructions. and somehow overwatered it. the little pieces of bark on the top of the pot grew mold. the small new shoots at the bottom of the plant were moldy. more failure. frustrated, she cut off some of the moldy shoots. they would not recover from the mold.
conversely, the green leaves at the base of the plant were huge. they looked healthy while the stalk that once held the flowers was dried up and quite a bit shorter than before. she shook her head. overall, the prognosis was poor. the big leaves were healthy but would it ever bloom again?
every day she looked at the orchid, wondering if she should just throw it in the dust bin and be done with it. looking at it was tormenting, a constant reminder of failure.
one day, with a burst of resolve, she moved it to the window ledge. here it would get intense sunlight whenever the sun made an appearance during the rainy winter. she still gave it an occasional drink, teetering between willing it to live and wanting to pitch it. she was sure she sucked at caring for this gift. where had the green thumbs gone?
months went by. on the saturday morning before easter sunday, she decided to give it a little drink. she considered it might be wise to turn the whole plant around on the window ledge. the backside of the orchid could benefit from the sun, too.
this complicated plant closely mirrored another relationship. she wrestled with vision, hope, and big promises from papa god about this one. all her eggs were in this one basket. the investment was great, the risk high, the reward and return not yet realized. it made her lay awake at night sometimes. what was that about walking by faith and not by sight?
reaching down, she turned the plant 180° and set it down gently. sitting back down at her desk, she saw it. there was a new, beautiful green shoot growing from the stalk she’d cut back and left for dead. not only that, there was another smaller shoot growing up at the base of the pot on the top of one of those big, healthy green leaves.
new life was springing up all over this plant.
she was dumbstruck. leaning in for closer examination with wide eyes and eyebrows raised, she found yet another new shoot growing from underneath another large green leaf. even the moldy shoots that remained were growing new shoots. what???
the stalk she’d thought was dead was now producing new life. she looked at it, tears running down her face. new life was springing up all over this plant she’d wanted to toss out.
she looked spoke to the orchid and the man she loved in her words of blessing.
“i bless you to grow and bloom more than you were ever told you could.”
the plant and the man would respond beautifully to her words of love and encouragement.
it was easter morning when she wrote this post. the deer were passing through the back yard, playing and leaping as they often did. her morning cup of coffee went down easy as she listened to elisabeth cooper (the journey) sing about the banqueting table set before her.
the plant continued to speak to her. things were seldom as they appeared. more tears flowed.
then she heard daddy god’s quiet voice break into her thoughts, mingling with her hopeful tears.
the walking/talking and moments of silence continued until they reached the other side of the park where the docks were.
the island was in front of them. they’d seen elk here the last time.
they stopped walking and stood together.
she felt holy spirit all around them. the intensity was so great, she could barely get the words out. but she looked him in the eyes. she began to speak the powerful words holy spirit gave her. she spoke softly but with great strength.
“over time, you will begin to see yourself as you are seen and known in heaven. that is what the enemy most fears, because when you begin to live and move in your true identity, when you know…”
her voice broke with emotion as she stopped to compose herself. “…when you know just how much you are loved, you will be unstoppable.”
tears welled up her eyes and ran down her cheeks. holy spirit continued to move in and around them. it was hard to even stand in that place. these words were new to him and he had not often felt holy spirit like this.
her emotion made him uncomfortable, too. she was intense when she talked about father, jesus and holy spirit.
he needed space and walked down the ramp to the dock. she wiped her eyes and watched him from the top of the hill.
she heard the birds screaming to each other before she saw them. following their sound, her gaze moved to her right. two eagles flew in tandem across the water toward the island.
she called out to him so he could see them, too. they both watched them land together in a tree.
it was a another sign.
he didn’t know what it meant. but she did.
father’s voice came again, strong, gentle, kind. “the promise remains.”
more tears. more tissues. glory and mess.
after a while, they began the walk back around the park, retracing their steps.
when they had almost reached the parking lot, she looked down to the ground to watch their feet as they moved.
father spoke to her again, saying, “when the walk began, your steps were not synchronized, but by the time your day was ending, you were in lockstep together.”
she was late running her errand, which meant she’d be late picking him up. she called to let him know. and to ask if she could use the restroom when she got there.
some things never change. “you know, i knew you’d ask me that! the toilet handle broke this morning. you’d better stop someplace else to go first.” she howled in laughter. there was always something wrong with the toilet.
ten minutes later, she was there. responding to the car’s gentle honk, he walked out the apartment door, crossed the street and got in the passenger side of her car.
with twinkling eyes and a big grin on her face, she looked him over. he looked her over, too, with the same goofy expression and cocked head that had made her laugh so often before.
they were uncomfortable for no more than twenty seconds. then the chatter began as though they’d never been apart. in reality, it had been nine months.
a lot had changed in nine months. he still looked like a giant teddy bear, and felt like one, too. he’d had surgery on his leg and had most of the hardware removed. but there had been complications and he still needed healing.
she was continually amazed at all the times the enemy had tried to take him out but never succeeded. that was a testimony all on its own.
they took turns in the catching up until they got to the theatre. once inside, they debated on whether to purchase overpriced popcorn and candy. wisdom won, and they opted for a late lunch after watching, ‘the shack.’
he hadn’t seen it yet. this was her second viewing. she offered him a kleenex as the movie began. he declined her offer and took a hanky out of his back pocket instead. all right, then.
the similarities between his story and the main character’s were too many to count. neither of them attempted to gloss it over. it was the pain of the past that had destroyed what they’d attempted to build.
when she had a break from wiping her own tears away, she looked over at him occasionally to see how he was doing with it all. he was hard to read. she held his hand in the places she knew would be hard for him. some things never change.
then the poignant and profound quote came from papa’s lips as she spoke to mackenzie.
“when all you see is your pain, you lose sight of me.”
she looked over at him again. this time there was no subtly. this time she said, “this” with tears running down her face. he caught it.
they finished watching the movie in silence and walked out of the theatre quietly when it was over. bj’s bar and grill was the chosen location for late lunch. after ordering, more real conversation came.
some conversation unpacked the movie. it offered further explanation of what papa had available to him if he would simply agree that papa was especially fond of him. if he would shift, he could live an abundant life. no, it was not without pain, but he could live well-loved, and that made all the difference.
tears sprang back to her eyes when she said it, but he had to know. “i didn’t leave because i didn’t love you. i left because i was dying. you were so consumed with the pain of your past that you had nothing to give me.”
he answered her slowly. “i guess that’s true.” his own feelings of unworthiness had made him unable to receive, love and cherish the gift papa had given him in her. he believed the lies the enemy told him, without ever questioning their validity.
he took over the conversation with the experiences he’d had with papa since they’d last been together. he talked about how papa was working in his heart, but she heard some lying green mist in his words. self-pity was holding him back from going after a full-on relationship with papa. she heard it. what was at the root?
after lunch, they visited places they used to go together. wildlife was always a shared joy. they watched ducks, geese, an eagle, and an osprey. a sweet little bird sang a melody that sounded like twinkling stars.
as they walked along the path at the nature preserve, he mentioned how the guilt of a rescue worker dying while trying to save him still tore him apart sometimes.
she stopped in her tracks. this was a piece of the puzzle. “wait. this is why your leg is not fully healed. you are judging yourself guilty for what happened to that man, when in fact you had nothing to do with it.”
“yeah, you’re right. it wasn’t my fault. but it really doesn’t bother me anymore.”
“you just said it still tears you up sometimes, so let’s deal with this.”
she saw the demons were opposing this process. after some persistence, she got him to say it. “father, in the name of jesus, i come out of agreement with the spirit of condemnation.” it was a start. truth had been spoken. this was new for him.
he was not used to doing anything that empowered him or made him free and strong. but it was a start, and a good one. she stopped there. it was enough for now.
she wanted to go back, but he encouraged her to walk a little further. she soon saw why. the path that meandered to the far end of the park was under water. in fact, the whole park was almost entirely flooded from heavy spring rains.
the drought was over.
they finished their walk and headed back to his apartment. he thanked her for the movie and for lunch. he had some things to think about.
she prayed he would choose the path of life papa had for him.
once again, he got up out of bed in silence. In silence, he dressed and in silence, he walked out to the living room.
this time, something had to be different. their separation hadn’t changed anything. he was content. he didn’t have to do anything different. he hadn’t made room for her in his life. he didn’t care for her heart and she had given it all. the status quo was beyond painful, and now, unsustainable.
she needed to speak this time, to stand up for herself.
courage came. she steadied her voice and spoke: “i don’t feel very loved when you leave the room when we have things to sort out.” her words were strong, gentle and calm.
there, she’d said it. lying in bed, she waited for a response, hopeful. it came, but not the one she’d desired.
that mocking spirit rose up in him. it spoke out loud, addressing the dog. “did you hear that, rascal? she doesn’t feel loved.”
she lay in the bed, drawing the covers up closer around her. she waited, giving him time and a wide berth to do the right thing.
minutes later, she heard him get up from the couch. he walked back into the bedroom and lay down again on the other side of the bed. it might have been miles for the chill she felt from him.
she waited. it was his move now, not hers. not anymore. she waited for him to move closer to her, to invite her into his arms.
she waited for him to say he was sorry this one time. it didn’t come.
instead, he got up in silence and walked back out to the living room. he sat down in the same place on the couch.
waiting again, she gave him more time to choose well, to make a different choice. it didn’t come. the game was on. she wasn’t playing.
she got up and dressed. refusing to give in to anger, frustration or accusations, she walked to the living room, too.
walking to the door, she unlocked the door handle and deadbolt. she turned around, going to the kitchen to gather the items she’d purchased earlier.
her arms full, she walked to the middle of the room and looked at him with love in her eyes. holding back tears, she asked him, “Is there anything you’d like to say to me before i walk out the door?” she hoped, praying for a different outcome than the familiar one that had played so often.
he was on his feet now as she spoke, going toward the door. his anger was no longer contained. “no, I think you’ve said enough for both of us.” he had opened the door, but not as a courtesy. he was throwing her out without words. again.
she looked at him, but he wouldn’t meet her gaze.
she felt no fear, just great sadness as she walked over the threshold of the door. the wind of the slamming door blew across her back.
immediately, she heard papa speak in her heart. “now, he must come to you.”
there would be no going back now. he had choices to make.